Experience Marketing in Country Branding: Theoretical Developments and an Estonian Case Study

Siiri Same


Country branding activities are driven by the need for differentiation and for this purpose experience marketing could become an efficient tool to sustain competitiveness in tourism, particularly in the case of small countries. This article advances the theoretical understanding in the field by proposing a conceptual model explaining the interconnections between experience marketing, country branding, authentic experiences, and image. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with foreigners and branding experts closely acquainted with Estonia. The methodological approach included qualitative content analysis and the use of secondary data. A categorization system of country-based experiences was created and then compared with the current official marketing strategies. In addition, the findings show the Estonian experiences that are perceived as most authentic, and recommend the use of experience marketing based on research from the cognitive, affective, and conative perspectives. This research could assist countries in brand management by emphasizing the need for comprehensive analysis of experience marketing in country branding.

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